Towards 2040 - A Dynamic City

3 December 2012

Plans are well under way to transform Opera House Lane, the first in a series of upgrades to revitalise some of our laneways.

An artist's impression of how the lane might look in just over 6 months' time

An artist's impression of how the lane might look in just over 6 months' time

Many cities around the world have transformed their laneways so that they are thriving and bustling with people. Wellington's laneway have potential but at the moment most lie untapped, underused and unloved.

We're committed to improving the laneways, and once we've upgraded the Opera House Lane connection from Te Aro Park to the waterfront, we'll look at the wider laneway network of Eva and Leeds streets.

Last week Wellington City was named one of the world's most liveable cities, winning its category in the International Awards for Liveable Communities (LivCom) 2012.

Improving the laneways will further enhance the special qualities of Wellington and there's more to come.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the work will encourage more people to use the lanes.

"More foot traffic increases safety for everyone and the likelihood of more shops and restaurants opening along those lanes.

"When we developed our 2040 vision for the city, we carried out research on walkways, preferred routes for pedestrians and the effect of ground-level activity on residents and its positive effects on the economy.

"In other words, we've done our homework on how to make the Capital even more attractive for residents and visitors, and the work on Opera House Lane alone will make a huge difference," says Mayor Wade-Brown.

The Opera House Lane project will cost $500,000, which includes new lighting, innovative new planting and greening throughout the lane, and use of the courtyard as an outdoor 'living room' with potential for performances and markets in addition to the murals already painted.

The derelict canopy above the Manners Street entrance is privately owned and is now being removed. We'll then remove the over-bridge staircase at the Wakefield Street end and improve the pedestrian connection across Wakefield Street.

Other design elements include a light installation and use of a local initiative called Kaynemail (a mesh for screening), plus installations and many plants.

The Wellington Company also plans retail and residential developments.

"This project is a great example of a partnership between the Council and a property owner, including the use of a local product," says Mayor Wade-Brown.

Work is expected to start in March / April next year.